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East Bibb Twiggs Neighborhood Association v. Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission
United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
706 F. Supp. 880 (1989)
In 1986, Mullis Tree Service, Inc. and Robert Mullis applied to the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission (the commission) (defendant) for a conditional use to operate a non-putrescible waste landfill. The commission approved the application. The commission considered land-use requests from private landowners and did not solicit any landfill applications. The proposed site was located in census tract No. 133.02. Census tract 133.02’s population consisted of roughly 60 percent Black residents. There was one other private landfill approved by the commission, located in the adjacent census tract No. 133.01, that contained a smaller, majority-white population. Both census tracts were located within County Commission District No. 1, where the population was comprised of 70 percent Black residents. Residents of tract 133.02 (the residents) (plaintiffs) alleged that the commission’s decision to allow the creation of a private landfill in tract 133.02 deprived the residents of equal protection of the law because the decision was motivated at least in part by considerations of race. The residents argued that the decision to locate the landfill in the tract had to be viewed against the historical background of locating undesirable land uses in Black neighborhoods. The commission opposed the claim, arguing that a lack of discriminatory motive was evidenced by the fact that the commission had acknowledged racial and low-income discrimination, it expressed concern over community needs, and it regularly refused to issue permits that were vocally opposed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Owens, C.J.)
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